Version tested: Retro
Almost the last thing you expected from Ocean in 1988 was for one of its film tie-ins to actually be good, but Platoon was better than good, it was bloody great.
Taking the multi-stage, multi-genre approach of Beach Head, but coming up with something genuinely impressive, this tense, involving action adventure won a lot of friends when it hit the shelves early in 1988.
Based on the excellent Oliver Stone Vietnam war epic, you started off in a dense, tropical jungle, full of trip-wires and enemies leaping out of nowhere to try and gun you down. In the still-fresh tradition of Green Beret and Contra, you'd find yourself fending off wave upon wave of enemies, while also trying to work your way through a maze-like environment in search of explosives.
With strikingly crisp, detailed and colourful visuals on show, Ocean's Zach Townsend was really starting to master the hidden depths of the 64's graphical abilities, while the excellent Jonathan Dunn soundtrack was a haunting accompaniment on your journeys.
But that was just for starters. Another game to utilise the increasingly ubiquitous multiload technique, Platoon rammed each and every stage with detail, making each section almost feel like a full game in its own right, and increasing the sense of variety no end.
Once you're through the village section, the game switched to a proto first person shooter section where you marched into a tunnel system taking out enemy soldiers along the way. Beyond that, the game really amps up the challenge, with tense encounters with the VC in a bunker, fending them off Operation Wolf-style, while the final challenge sees your five man squad working their way through a maze to the safety of a foxhole before eventually being flown to safety. Phew.
Platoon was a tad frustrating at times, but like most games of the era it was about patience and repeat play to get the most out of it - so don't expect time to have been too kind to it if you're considering a re-run.
8 / 10